On June 12th of this year, the newest Navy ship was delivered to a base in San Diego. The ship, an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), is a ship type the Marines need badly in order to rapidly deploy special operations marines to hotspots around the world; more specifically, places where we have few bases of operation like Africa. Not only is the ship a welcome addition to the Navy’s fleet of more flexible warships, but the name attached to it, Lewis B. Puller, is a welcome addition as well.
Lt. Gen. Puller, affectionately known as “Chesty” was an enlisted man who quickly rose up the ranks by fighting in some of the most well-known and bloody Marine Corps engagements in history. He participated in such famous battles as Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Inchon Landing and the Chosin Reservoir; along the way he gained an impressive medal collection which included the Navy Cross (one of only two 5 time recipients ever), the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and a Purple Heart.
“Chesty” was known as a “Marine’s Marine” because of the way he distinguished himself in battle and rose up the chain of command from the Corps lowest ranks. Sadly, Lt. Gen. Puller left us in 1971; but with the addition of the new ship, his name will continue to be celebrated for the crucial role he played in Marine Corp history.
Why the AFSB? The Navy, Marines and other branches of the military have been worried about their ability to respond to crises in places such as Africa, where the closest forward operating base is in Spain. Incidents such as the embassy attack in Libya and other events on the largely politically unstable continent show the need to be able to respond and defend quicker when necessary. Recently, it took Marines over 16 hours to arrive at the embassy in South Sudan from Spain to evacuate personnel there. The Afloat Forward Staging Base is said to efficiently reduce response time to a crisis in areas where a permanent forward operating base is some distance away.
The ship has reserved berthing space for over 250 special operations troops, can house two helicopters in its hangar, has a landing deck, refueling equipment and can be configured to do multiple roles in short order. AFSB’s are touted as a less expensive and less survivable alternative to the Amphibious Assault Ships that the Navy wants, but just does not have room for in its current budget. Ships like the AFSB will have to fill the gaps in the meantime.
The Navy has 5 of the AFSB’s on order to be delivered over the next few years. They are said to be a huge step forward to the current Mobile Landing Platforms that are serving in the role today. With today’s changing world and uncertain stability, ships like the Lewis B. Puller will increase our armed force’s ability to respond quickly to crises anywhere in the world.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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